The Prime Minister has fired the first shot on the road to September’s election with an $8 billion package of highway upgrades, rail improvements and smaller sums on health and education; and Lower Hutt will need to spend an estimated $270 million over the next decade on its aging water infrastructure.
* The New Zealand Herald
In the New Zealand Herald, a Chinese student is believed to be in isolation in Auckland City Hospital after undergoing tests for possible coronavirus. The revelation comes as the Government prepares to evacuate 82 Kiwis at the epicentre of the crisis in China.
In other news, the Prime Minister has fired the first shot on the road to September’s election with an $8 billion package of highway upgrades, rail improvements and smaller sums on health and education.
In business news, the Serious Fraud Office filed criminal charges today against four people in relation to donations paid into a National Party electorate bank account. But a spokesperson for National Leader Simon Bridges says no one in the National Party has been charged.
* The Dominion Post
In the Dominion Post, Lower Hutt will need to spend an estimated $270 million over the next decade on its aging water infrastructure. At a briefing on Wednesday, Wellington Water officials advised the Hutt City Council it would need to nearly double capital expenditure on its water services if it intended to keep up with population growth and upgrade assets that were aging, broken, or no longer up to standard.
In other news, a State Highway 2 interchange at Melling will be built by 2026 as part of a $1.35 billion investment in Wellington’s transport network. The Government announcement on Wednesday also included plans for a four-lane highway between Ōtaki and north of Levin by 2029, a $211 million investment in the region’s rail network by 2025, and further safety upgrades on SH58 by 2023.
In business news, a handcrafted dollhouse insured for $15,000 is up for auction next month to raise money for the Child Cancer Foundation. The dollhouse was 25 years in the making. After moving to Whangarei in 1987 for work, Annie Alder saw an ad in the paper for porcelain doll-making classes.
* The Press
In The Press, Canterbury’s share of a taxpayer infrastructure spend-up has been described as crumbs that ignore a growing city’s transport needs. The region will get $159 million (2.3 per cent) of the $6.8 billion worth of transport funding announced yesterday as part of a $12b Government infrastructure package, despite having about 13 per cent of the nation’s population.
In other news, council staff initially planned to install hundreds of heat pumps in cold, damp and uninsulated social housing units by summer breaching a council resolution to complete the work by winter. Christchurch City councillors voted in September to borrow $10 million towards the $16m cost to upgrade 909 social housing units with heat pumps and mechanical ventilation by winter 2020″.
In business news, an insurer unreasonably refused some aspects of re-repairs to a Christchurch home after two attempts to fix it failed, Canterbury’s earthquake insurance tribunal has ruled. In one of the tribunal’s first decisions, chairman Chris Somerville said while insurer IAG agreed Alistair and Sandra Malcolm’s Mt Pleasant house needed major repairs, the parties disagreed on the scope of works.